Low To Moderate Turnout In Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Polling for Lok Sabha elections started on a mixed note in central Kashmir on Wednesday morning amid fear and threat of terror attacks in the Srinagar city.
While in some areas the turn out was very low, in several other areas there was moderate voting.
Despite a poll boycott call by Kashmiri separatists, polling was brisk in the district of Ganderbal which is the assembly segment of chief minister Omar Abdullah.
20.40% votes were polled in Ganderbal district while 5.12% polling was recorded in Srinagar district and 15.12% votes in Budgam district were polled till 11am.
One police constable sustained injury in the head while on duty in a stone pelting incident at polling station no. 50 at Fatah Kadal in old Srinagar city.
The injured cop Mohammad Muzaffar was shifted to SMHS hospital for treatment.
Stone pelting incidents were reported from Khurhama , Tilmulla and Larsun village in Ganderbal as well.
Polling was not as vigorous in Bemina polling stations as it was during assembly elections in 2009. Jahana Begum of boatman colony said that the polling was dull in the area as some masked men threatened the residents against voting late on Tuesday night. “They threatened of dire consequences if voters went out to vote,” Jahana told TOI.
At booth number 61-A of Bemina polling booth in Srinagar 54 out of 734 votes were cast till 11.30am while 134 votes were polled at polling station adjacent to 61-A out of 859 votes. Chief minister Omar Abdullah also visited the polling station to witness the polling.
In the outskirts of Srinagar city, Rawalpora recorded 92 votes out of 1025 votes till 11am in polling station 91-A while only 20 votes had been polled out of 1181 votes at polling station 92-B Rawalpora at 11am.
Long queues were seen outside polling booths in central Kashmir’s Chraar-i-Shareef on Wednesday morning.
In Chadoora, large number of people turned to exercise their franchise.
Badipora, home town of state’s finance minister Abdul Raheem Rather, witnessed brisk polling.
Heavy security was deployed in the area. Main market in Chadoora was shut amid heavy contingents of police and paramilitary forces in the area. Long queues were seen outside a polling booth at Fakir Gujri. Out of 889 registered voters, 102 had cast their ballot by 9am even though anti-polling demonstrations took place in the main market of Kangan area in Ganderbal. Police used tear gas shells to disperse the mob that was trying to enforce poll boycott in Saloora area in Ganderbal.
Only four votes were cast in Maliksahab and Roshanagar polling stations of Nowhatta Wednesday till 1pm in down town Srinagar, the reports said. Out of registered 568, only three used their franchise in Maliksahab while just one vote was balloted out of 266 votes in Roshangar. At Islamia School Gojwara polling station, 1 vote was cast out of 767 registered voters. In Rajouri Kadal, out of total 412 votes, no vote was registered till 1pm.
Surprisingly, long queues were seen at Shampora polling station in Nowhatta area in old city on Wednesday morning even as other localities witnessed no polling.
Nowhatta is usually in news because of stone pelting and violence, more particularly on Fridays following sermons of the Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
At Maisuma, where Yasin Mailk of JKLF lives, till 9am, low turnout was recorded with only four people exercising their franchise out of 662 registered voters.
Although there are 14 candidates in the fray in the Srinagar parliamentary constituency but there is close fight between NC candidate Farooq Abdullah and PDP candidate Tariq Karra.
Police took action against the Facebook groups which it claimed were spreading misinformation about the polling and threatening people to desist from participating in the polling.
The police press release said “some mischievous elements have been posting incorrect frivolous and fake information on social networking sites particularly Facebook, police has found the following Facebook pages indulging in posting such baseless information. Police registered a case against the following Facebook pages: Kashmir News Agency, Loving Kashmir,Youths of Downtown-Kashmir, 24X7 Breaking News, Kashmir Banega Pakistan, Pahallan the city of Hurriyat G, Ganderbal News Agency, All(J&K) Breaking News Alert, True Muhajid, Election Boycott Bandipora, Voice of Kashmir Youth and Youths of Down Town. The persons running these pages are being identified, the police spokesman said.
Angry youth attacked Government Boys Higher Secondary School polling station in Soura and damaged two vehicles as well. According to reports, the presence of “bogus” voters triggered the stone pelting. Anchar polling station in Soura also reportedly came under the attack of stone throwers.
Police arrested about 1300 people in three districts of central Kashmir in the past few days including scores of separatists leaders and activists. The arrests were part of the security effort to facilitate the parliamentary elections polls in the central Kashmir, police said.

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